Explore our Publications and Media Appearance related to the project.
We published our first peer-reviewed paper in July 2020.
Rosenbloom D, Rinscheid A. Deliberate decline: An emerging frontier for the study and practice of decarbonization. WIREs Clim Change. 2020;e669. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.669
Promoting low-carbon innovation has long been a central preoccupation within both the practice and theory of climate change mitigation. However, deep lock-ins indicate that existing carbon-intensive systems will not be displaced or reconfigured by innovation alone. A growing number of studies and practical initiatives suggest that mitigation efforts will need to engage with the deliberate decline of carbon-intensive systems and their components (e.g., technologies and practices). Yet, despite this realisation, the role of intentional
decline in decarbonization remains poorly understood and the literature in this area continues to be dispersed among different bodies of research and disciplines. In response, this article structures the fragmented strands of research engaging with purposive decline, interrogating the role it may play in decarbonization. It does so by systematically surveying concepts with particular relevance for intentional decline, focusing on phase-out, divestment, and destabilization.
A pre-print (open access) is available here: shorturl.at/djyF4
Trencher, G., Truong, N., Temocin, P., & Duygan, M. (2021). Top-down sustainability transitions in action : How do incumbent actors drive electric mobility diffusion in China , Japan , and California ? Energy Research & Social Science, 79, 102184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2021.102184 (Open access)
This study analysed how incumbent state and market actors can drive socio-technical transitions. By uncovering the strategies incumbents use to accelerate the diffusion of electric mobility in China, Japan and California, we challenge the dominant understanding in transition literature which overemphasizes bottom-up model of transitions and portrays incumbents as cumbersome guards of status-quo. While the strategies used by incumbents show greater similarity across the cases, the choice of policy instruments tend to differ largely based on the socio-political conditions prevalent in these cases. Overall, our study provides insights into the mechanisms of top-down transitions and the role of incumbents therein.
Duygan M., Kachi A., Oliveira T.D., Rinscheid A. (2021). Introducing the Endowment-Practice-Institutions (EPI) framework for studying agency in the institutional contestation of socio-technical regimes. Journal of Cleaner Production, 296, 126396. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.126396 (Open access)
A timely transition of socio-technical systems to more sustainable alternatives is crucial in mitigating climate change and other environmental problems. While innovation plays a significant role in such transitions, policy makers and the scientific community have become increasingly aware that the deliberate destabilization of existing socio-technical regimes—including associated institutions and technologies—is also often necessary. However, such aspiration is politically contested. This paper presents the Endowment-Practice-Institutions (EPI) Framework to study the contestation of institutions underpinning socio-technical regimes. By integrating key theories from Institutional Sociology and Political Economy, the framework conceives actors’ capability of influencing institutional structures to be dependent on their institutional work practices and the various endowments that enable these practices. We present Japanese coal policy as an example to illustrate how the framework can be used to assess actors’ institutional work and their influence on institutional outcomes. In addition to providing new theoretical insights, the framework helps to systematically analyze agency-driven mechanisms pertinent for the maintenance or destabilization of socio-technical regimes.
Stutzer R., Rinscheid A., Oliveira T.D., Loureiro P.M., Kachi A., Duygan M. (2021). Black coal, thin ice: the discursive legitimisation of Australian coal in the age of climate change. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. (Open access)
Despite mounting urgency to mitigate climate change, new coal mines have recently been approved in various countries, including in Southeast Asia and Australia. Adani’s Carmichael coal mine project in the Galilee Basin, Queensland (Australia), was approved in June 2019 after nine years of political contestation. Counteracting global efforts to decarbonise energy systems, this mine will substantially increase Australia’s per capita CO2 emissions, which are already among the highest in the world. Australia’s deepening carbon lock-in can be attributed to the essential economic role played by the coal industry, which gives it structural power to dominate political dynamics. Furthermore, tenacious networks among the traditional mass media, mining companies, and their shareholders have reinforced the politico-economic influence of the industry, allowing the mass media to provide a venue for the industry’s outside lobbying strategies as well as ample backing for its discursive legitimisation with pro-coal narratives. To investigate the enduring symbiosis between the coal industry, business interests, the Australian state, and mainstream media, we draw on natural language processing techniques and systematically study discourses about the coal mine in traditional and social media between 2017 and 2020. Our results indicate that while the mine’s approval was aided by the pro-coal narratives of Queensland’s main daily newspaper, the Courier-Mail, collective public sentiment on Twitter has diverged significantly from the newspaper’s stance. The rationale for the mine’s approval, notwithstanding increasing public contestation, lies in the enduring symbiosis between the traditional economic actors and the state; and yet, our results highlight a potential corner of the discursive battlefield favourable for hosting more diverse arguments.
Rinscheid, Adrian, and Aya Kachi. "Phase-outs: Why they are central for low-carbon transitions and what the new COALSTAKE project aims to contribute." The 34th Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN) Newsletter (2019). [Newsletter available]
Aug. 5, 2020
On Advanced Science News, Adrian Rinscheid & Daniel Rosenbloom discuss how deliberate decline in carbon-intensive systems is currently taking shape as a new way to confront climate change.